United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PETITION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS
CORPUS AND DENYING CERTIFICATE OF APPEALABILITY
HONORABLE LINDA V. PARKER JUDGE.
a habeas case filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2254. Petitioner
Antonio Batties (“Petitioner”) is challenging his
Wayne County Circuit Court conviction, following a guilty
plea, to manslaughter in violation of Michigan Compiled Laws
§ 750.321. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to seven
to fifteen years' imprisonment. Petitioner raises a
single claim in support of his request for habeas relief:
that he should be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea where
his plea was entered under duress and no factual basis was
given for the plea. The claim is without merit. Therefore,
the Court is denying the petition and also is denying
Petitioner a certificate of appealability.
testimony offered at Petitioner's preliminary examination
indicated that Petitioner and his brother, Lynell Batties,
kicked Jeffrey Simmons to death. (See, e.g., 6/26/15
Hr'g Tr. at 35-36, ECF No. 6-4.) The medical examiner
described the severe injuries sustained by the victim,
including: the loss of teeth with lacerations caused by
fractured tooth fragments, hemorrhaging to both eyes,
lacerations on the face, abrasions on the head and
extremities, and extensive and intense swelling of the brain.
(5/20/15 Hr'g Tr. at 8-16, ECF No. 6-2.) Petitioner was
originally charged in the Wayne Circuit Court with
second-degree murder and torture. (Id. at 3.)
accepted a plea to the lesser charge of manslaughter with a
sentence agreement of seven to fifteen years'
imprisonment. Petitioner indicated under oath that he signed
a written plea agreement outlining the terms of the deal.
(10/22/15 Hr'g Tr. at 5-6, ECF No. 6-9.) The trial court
then informed Petitioner of the trial and appellate rights he
would be waiving by entering into the plea agreement.
(Id. at 6-12.) Petitioner stated that he understood
his rights and wanted to proceed with his guilty plea.
denied that anyone had threatened him to induce his guilty
plea. (Id. at 12.) Petitioner also denied that
anyone had promised him anything other than what was
contained in the plea agreement to induce his guilty plea.
(Id. at 12- 13.) Petitioner stated that he was
entering his guilty plea freely, voluntarily, and
understandingly. (Id. at 13.)
provided a factual basis for the plea, indicating that the
victim died after Petitioner and the victim fought.
(Id. at 13-14.) The state trial court accepted
Petitioner's guilty plea, and the parties agreed that the
court complied with the court rule governing the acceptance
of guilty pleas. (Id. at 14.)
brother elected to go to trial on the original charges and
was found not guilty by a jury.
Petitioner's sentence under the terms of the plea
bargain, Petitioner through appellate counsel filed a motion
in the trial court to withdraw his plea. Petitioner's
counsel asserted that Petitioner was innocent because he,
like his brother, acted in self-defense. (7/11/16 Hr'g
Tr. at 3-4, ECF No. 6-11.) Petitioner indicated that he only
pleaded guilty because he “felt pressured, ” and
“he didn't get any discovery, his attorney really
didn't do much of anything in this case except negotiate
this deal.” (Id. at 4.) The trial court denied
the motion. (Id. at 6.)
then filed a delayed application for leave to appeal in the
Michigan Court of Appeals, raising one claim:
I. Whether the trial court erred by denying defendant's
motion to withdraw guilty plea?
Michigan Court of Appeals denied the application for leave to
appeal “for lack of merit in the grounds
presented.” (ECF No. 6-12.) Petitioner's subsequent
application for leave to appeal in the Michigan Supreme Court
was denied by standard form order. People v.
Batties, 891 N.W.2d 485 (Mich. 2017) (Table).
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 2254(d)(1) curtails a federal court's
review of constitutional claims raised by a state prisoner in
a habeas action if the claims were adjudicated on the merits
by the state courts. Relief is barred under this section
unless the state court adjudication was “contrary
to” or ...